In conjunction with Mo'Print, featuring 8 female artists who were born abroad.
An investigation of the female perspective on immigration.
[Hand-Rudy] Taiko Chandler
[MacMillan] Taiko Chandler
[Polly Addison] Erin Hyunhee Kang
[McMahon] Danqi Cai, Roberta Restaino, Eriko Tsogo, Shark’s Ink (Dianna Frid, Ana Maria Hernando, Hung Liu)
Foreign Born explores the unique perspectives of female immigrants from Asia, South America and Europe. Individually, each artist charted a unique path to citizenship, while collectively that path ultimately inspired a desire for artistic expression. By referencing birth, femininity, and cultural identity, their unique perspectives form a singular message around the significance of immigration and the power of the female viewpoint.
Aligned with Mo’Print, a celebration of printmaking created “to inspire, educate, and promote awareness throughout Colorado” (Mo’Print Home Page, 2020), this exhibition predominantly features printmaking in the form of lithographs, monoprints, and etchings, but also includes drawings and paintings for a diverse range of represented media.
It is within the creation of ‘prints’ that we observe intrinsic personal narratives. From artists that directly reference their home country, artists depicting figures of another time and location, or artists that abstractly depict their connection to a new environment, Foreign Born delivers a diverse collection of work from artists creating personal objects in a once unfamiliar locale: the United States of America.
MacMILLAN FAMILY LOBBY
Printmaking is my primary professional art medium where I am driven to develop my own vocabulary. I am drawn, in particular, to its unpredictability. I compose my work instinctively; combining shapes, colors, lines, and textures in order to express my imagination and react to the environment around me. The process is, therefore, both deliberate and iterative. I am constantly improvising with no fixed destination in my mind. As I work, the evolution of the work stretches the starting point – it is the open nature of the process that is constantly creating new possibilities. In addition to printmaking, I am interested in three dimensional work. Here, I am particularly drawn to site specific installation art that is, by definition, inspired by the space and immediate surroundings. I am fascinated by the dynamism of 3D art that allows for a more intimate interaction with those who come to view the work. Also, I love the transient nature of installations, which last for the length of a show and are then dismantled. When (and if) they are assembled again, the pieces always come together to create something new that is, in turn, inspired by its own particular space. For these installations, my selection of materials (e.g., Tyvek, fabric, paper fasteners, etc) reflect my interest in using simple materials that I can manipulate and, therefore, transform. With my Tyvek installations, I draw on the positive space by shaping the material, but seek to emphasize the negative space by cutting the non-printed areas. I am constantly fascinated by the power of this work to redefine the spaces in which they appear.
Denver, CO (since 2011):
We moved to Denver in June and I took my first professional art class in the Fall of 2011. It was a printmaking (monotype) class. Moving to Denver was different again because my husband had a job and, eventually, his green card, which allowed me to get my green card/SSN. This financial stability helped us do many more things. It was exciting, but also it was too much choice in some ways – I did not know where to begin. Late in the summer, we stopped by the Art Students League of Denver to see if they had any art classes I would be interested in. Without any particular reason, I thought it would be interesting to learn abstract painting, but there was a waiting list, so I signed up for a printmaking class, instead. It took me a while to feel confident, but I increasingly began to enjoy what I was able to make. I think this period, particularly 2012-2013, was the time I focused on learning various printmaking methods and techniques. Though Denver is bigger than Nagano (where I lived and grew-up in Japan), the nature and beautiful mountains and rivers remind me of my hometown. That is why I think these influences were strong in my early prints.
Miami, FL (2002-2005):
Moving from Japan to Miami was a great culture shock for me (the income and wealth gap, traffic chaos, beautiful nature, rich Latin culture, and so on). It was all so different from Japan. Also, going back to student life again after working professionally as a nurse in Japan for many years, was difficult (financially, socially, my legal status unable to work, etc.).
Without having much money, nor having a car or cellphone, it was a challenge to do the things I wanted or needed to do, but it was also a great learning experience of having to adapt to this new life. One outcome of this was that I began making things by hand from scratch – cooking, hand sewing, making jewelry, etc.
Spending time with the immigrant friends I made and fellow students in my English (most were from Central and South America) and Spanish classes, and the friends we made in Miami was one of the big parts of my life and, gradually, I think this is when I began to think more about my identity and ethnicity.
Austin, TX (2005-2011):
After moving to Austin, I kept studying Spanish for about a year, then did some volunteer work (first, at a center for legally blind people, then at a city-owned/run art & craft center). During that time, I met an 87-year old Texan woman and we became good friends and she taught me a lot about sewing. As well as sewing, I enjoyed cooking together with her and also listening to her stories (particularly about WWII and the time she spent in Japan). Beside doing volunteer work, I enjoyed walking outside, regularly going to thrift shops and estate sales, antique shops and fairs, and later photography with my first DSL camera. I also bought my first sewing machine and began sewing more, upcyling clothes or furniture for myself or to make our apartment space unique from used/old things. Scavenging was fun and I was able to learn about the history and society of America through the things people used to own and treasure.
My interests arise from the subtle connections and boundaries between different phases of my life. I translate these delicate boundaries of subconscious into surreal landscapes using various representations of water. Not only do these landscapes result in both serene and catastrophic outcomes, but also what is manipulating and manipulated becomes obscured. By exploring these unpredictable results, I hope to find clarification and acceptance from the past.
Erin Kang’s current body of work, on view, is part of a year long project as a resident artist in The Boulder Creative Collective’s Pilot Program for the 2019/2020 year. The Boulder Creative Collective (The BCC) seeks to bring together, support, and cultivate the diverse artistic energies of the Boulder community by offering artist residencies, gallery, and event space; representation, career development and networking opportunities; workshops and classes to artists and the public; and provocative, stimulating experiences to all. The Boulder Creative Collective is a nonprofit space and collective where artists and the greater community can engage through its founding principles; Create, Connect, Exchange, Collect.
ANA MARIA HERNANDO, DIANNA FRID, HUNG LIU, ROBERTA RESTAINO, ERIKO TSOGO, DANQI CAI
This Exhibition Contains Graphic Content: Please view at your own discretion
ANA MARIA HERNANDO
Shark’s Ink Collection: Night Flower I & II
The two prints, “Night Flowers I & II” are related to my latest body of work, where I have been exploring the night, looking for light in the darkness, and looking for darkness in all. In the night the ends an the beginnings are one, everything melts into the obscure, and it all becomes and intimate immensity. The outside becomes the inside, and the inside becomes the outside. What is far and open embraces us, pulls us closer. In the night the moon and the stars bathe us in their white fire, caressing us softly, revealing the nocturnal voices, transforming our orange song.
Shark’s Ink Collection: Somos Aire (We Are Air)
I have been painting enormous flowers, flowers that cannot be contained by the paper. Somos Nube (We are Cloud) [not on display] and Somos Aire (We are Air) profess a grand beauty I am seeing everywhere. The persistent feminine force cannot be denied any longer. Why are we so afraid of the presence of the feminine? It is unstoppable. Flowers, in their quiet but urgent power, are our most trustworthy prophets.
Shark’s Ink Collection: Sieve
High contrast photographs of sieve-like objects are the inception of this series. Each print is a particular response to a fragment of a photographic image. Although each work seems to be abstract, it is only partially so since it includes both the cropped index of an object in the world, and a simultaneous nonrepresentational rejoinder to it. The rejoinder embodies an ongoing dialogue with Bud Shark. As collaborators, we figure out what to make by figuring out how to make it. The Sieve series pivots around the concept of process as a way through an aesthetic possibility-something that did not exist before we started. We invent the problem so that we may play with and open it up. Our work together is not concerned with merely finding solutions, but with ways of seeing that arise through making.
Shark’s Ink Collection: On the Modification of Clouds (after L.H.)
L.H. refers to Luke Howard who was the scientist who first classified the clouds in 1802. The Latin names in his nomenclatures (Cirrus, Cumulus, Nimbus, etc.) are still the names we use today. His research was published in a report titled, “On the Modification of Clouds,” and I appreciatively borrowed it for the titling of these lithographs. Atmospheric conditions and elevations set the conditions for one type of cloud to the potentially morph into another type. The attitudes of shifts and modifications–as indicated by the title of the suite–was one of the operating principles in making the lithographs at Shark’s Ink.
Shark’s Ink Collection: Official Portraits
Shark’s Ink is proud to present a suite of three lithographs with collage by Hung Liu. In the past Liu has used anonymous historical photographs as the subject matter of her prints and paintings. In the suite she present three self-portraits, each denoting an important period of her life. “Proletarian” shows a young Liu at the time of the Cultural Revolution, working in the countryside. “Immigrant” is based on a photograph from the time of her immigration to the US. “Citizen” is a recent self-portrait as a confident and mature woman of the world. She embellishes the images with lovely drawings of plants, flowers, birds, rats (her Chinese zodiac sign) and painterly drips and circles. Collaged on each print are representations of the ID cards, permits and ration coupons that have documented her “official” status associated with these portraits.
Shark’s Ink Collection: The Last Dynasty
Hung Liu’s lithographs, The Last Dynasty: Countess and The Last Dynasty: Empress, continue the exploration of the history of her homeland through found anonymous photographs. Using black and white images from the Qing Dynasty, Liu has re-drawn the images with painterly washes and colors. Liu describes her approach to the found images, “…between dissolving and preserving is the rich middle-ground where the meaning of an image is found…My prints are metaphors for memory and history…”
Interchangeable Camouflage is a personal inquiry of my identity as an immigrant from Italy living in the USA. The second body of work is How Far We Are? It is a question thinking about how new technologies -alien elements- interfere and interconnect with our life. It relates to my personal story to feel foreign to this land. I really understood what it was to be Italian when I moved to America. I have experienced the cross cultures through mature eyes that are always seeking answers through logical connections. I became more aware of words and their meanings and witnessed how cultures overlap. It is quite exciting and scary at the same time, but interesting for sure. The more time I spend outside my familiar environment, the more I recall old memories that I reveal in my work. Rome influences, informs, and translates into my work as textures, layers, patterns, and marks accumulating through history, left by time over time. Underneath Rome and its surroundings, where I grew up, there is an infinite amount of ruins to reveal. It aligns perfectly with my obsession with scientific discovery and a sense of wonder that leads me to my process of making. In my daily experience, I constantly stop to decipher words and their meanings to express myself in a different language. Inevitably, in every daily conversation, I experience this because I have a trademark that is my accent. Suddenly, when people notice it and tell you, it brings you into a question of belonging. That is the scared part that I mentioned above, wherein these moments, you feel a sense of detachment from both cultures, the one that I am embracing as a foreigner and my own; moments where you do not know where you belong anymore. When I go back to my country, I experience what I call “reverse culture shock” that is a feeling of disconnection with your own environment and people. I think it happens to anyone who lives far away from their own country for a long time. Interchangeable Camouflage comes from the idea that we move, change, reshaping ourselves, always in search of something. I like the idea that even though this piece has multiples of the same matrix, it will never be the same when installed on another wall. It will change, interchange within itself, to represent a new me in another stage of growth and awareness.
WRONG WOMEN, Myths from the Sky
WRONG WOMEN, Myths from Sky series chronicles the metaphysical pilgrimage of the marginal heroine as they travel through the kaleidoscopic labyrinth of time, space and nature. On journey, they must learn to navigate and overcome perpetual opposition and adversity, worldly obstacles exemplified through various conceptualized physical bodily trials, in order to find themselves. The artworks act as part biographical exposé, addressing the universal struggles and inner spectrum of the non-binary identity. Wrong Women seeks to help transform the viewer through the power of empathy, inspiration, and empowerment.
She Loves Control: Prints and Reproductive Autonomy
She Loves Control: Prints and Reproductive Autonomy is a group of lithographs responding to China’s changing population control policies and their effects on women. Borne out of China’s one-child policy and its deep-rooted gender inequality, my family history fueled my obsession with the question of reproduction. My father had always wanted a son, so eleven years ago my mother agreed to adopt a baby boy, only for my father to leave us shortly thereafter. A teenager at the time, I struggled to understand my father’s desire for a son, his subsequent abandonment of us, and my mother’s unquestioning commitment to child-rearing. A woman’s life seems to be valued differently depending on what stage it is in. Both social commentary and self-portrait, my prints reflect on this observation using, for example, both my adult body and my one-year-old portrait in AHHHH. One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters, for instance, comments on the gender imbalance in China and explores the irony of people not wanting daughters yet desperately needing mothers for the next generation. The connection between printmaking and biological reproduction is also central to this project, with the printing matrix (the Latin word for “womb”) as the metaphorical womb. Moreover, Mandarin Chinese makes no distinction between “biological reproduction” and “mechanical reproduction.” Biologically, our lives begin through the replication of cells, just as a generative matrix begets multiplicity. Likewise, the printmaking practice of layering results in “sibling” prints that share a parent matrix, and yet each contains distinct mutations.
Photos courtesy of Lauren M. Click
MACMILLIAN | HAND/RUDY
Taiko Chandler lives and works in Denver, Colorado. She was born and raised in Nagano, Japan and was originally trained as a nurse. After taking a printmaking workshop at the Art Students League of Denver in 2011, she found herself in art. Today, Taiko works primarily in printmaking and, more recently, site-specific installation art. Taiko’s work has been exhibited in Colorado, and many other states, as well as numerous print fairs throughout the U.S. Her work is in private and public collections in the U.S. and Japan, including the Cleveland Clinic Art Program, the University of Colorado Business School, and the Denver Art Museum (Education Collection).